Journey: The 2005 Generations Interviews.
Part 3 - Jonathan Cain. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain picks up where we left off when last talking - that was the time Arrival was released.
Jonathan Cain joined Journey at a critical time in its evolution. What followed was the band's biggest run of chart success, becoming one of Columbia Records' biggest selling acts ever.
While at times a quiet talker, it should be recognized that Jonathan is one of the key elements of this band and together with Neal Schon chose to move on without Steve Perry, which sees the band continuing today.
This was my third interview with Jon over the years and picks up where we left off after Arrival.
Pardon the error, but the very start of the interview was cut-off, but all that is missing is the initial greetings. We then start to discuss the opening show of the new tour.
Please excuse any typos think I got them all, but I was up pretty late!
Changes to the setlist?
The fans got confused with all the new stuff they just weren't digging on it. They wanted the warm and fuzzy Journey you know.
So we're doing three new songs.
You cutting back that much?
Yeah. We may end up culling another one of Steve's songs. I'm sure he's going to kick and scream when he gets here so I'm ready for that. But that's cool.
Have you heard the new album yet?
I have yes.
What did you think?
I think its great a couple of things I am not so warm on, being straight up with you. Just a couple of tracks I'm not so much into, but plenty I am into.
So what did you like from it.
Well, Faith In The Heartland I really like love that it's a seven minute track, A Place In Your Heart, A Better Life and Out Of Harms Way is exceptional.
And I think Beyond The Clouds is an exceptional ballad and I love It's Never Too Late also.
What about you Jonathan?
Oh, I don't know
.I like lots of things for different reasons. I don't really have 1 particular favourite or another.
How about comparing it to Arrival?
I think Generations is a different time and place for us. I'm not going to compare the albums as there is great stuff on both albums.
Everybody is different with what they like and I think
it certainly went down smoother from production and band stand point. We didn't have a record label in our face.
How much difference did that make for you guys?
You know [having a label in your face], it diffuses a lot
you know, of the confidence and energy of the band.
A different producer this time around
Working with Mike was great. We did it in 40 days and we did it for about a quarter of what we spent on Arrival.
How long did you spend recording Arrival again? Months wasn't it?
It was months
.I don't know
I lost track. I think we spent like 3 months on it.
I think we are a better band than we were, we were finding our self. We have been on the road
I would hope we would get better after being on the road for 5 years.
If you don't get better you should hang it up! Haha
Have you had a chance to read any fan reactions to the album so far?
I haven't. I don't go there. It's not for me to see it's for them.
They talk about what they want to talk about and you know, we just go from there.
I think analyzing comments would
I don't care. I am happy if anybody likes it and if they don't
I made the album for them and now I let it go. I'm not going to grind on it. We did it, it's gone now. I feel strong about the lyrics I wrote and the melodies, there ya go.
Do you have any favourites yourself.
Well, I like Faith In The Heartland. I like Out Of Harms Way for what it is it's beautiful.
I like the way my song Every Generation came out. That's one of my favourite rocks songs I have ever written or been a part of.
I did want to compliment you on that.
I just love that lyric.
I haven't got the lyrics yet, but I like the sentiment of the song.
The lyrics are some of the best I have ever done. For me this is one of the best lyric sessions I have ever had, 'cause I wrote a lot. I wrote from the heart and I wrote for the fans. Faith In The Heartland is about things learnt and seen on the road.
Growing up with my kids and watching fans come to the shows Every Generation is for me really what this band is all about. I think I hit the nail on the head with that one.
And Neal plays the most amazing guitar solo in the world on the end of that one.
Also to be able to play it live, which I'm doing
people really get a kick out of it, so it's a great thing cause they are all sitting there, you know.
I wrote another great song for this record that didn't see the light of day it's more an introspective one called Pride Of The Family.
I recall the title being mentioned.
Actually it's on the Japan release so you can get an import and get it from there. [Note - Now also to be a part of the US release].
That's another Journey song that really belongs from my side of singing stand point anyways. Every Generations is my first vocal after 24 years of being in the band I'm now officially on the record. So that's pretty historical for me.
I actually made the comment to John Baruck [Journey manager] I thought it was your best vocal also.
It's kind of a neat thing to try and work yourself in after being Gregg Rolie for the last 7 years.
But I do it with dignity and pride. I'm darn proud of all they have accomplished. Like Deen Deen and I sing this stuff from our hearts every night.
Deen and yourself also have quite a role as a vocalist this time around.
Yeah, we are singing a lot. Deen and I are really going at it. When you play three hours, you gotta do something. People have to pick up the ball you know.
So, you've seen the set list then?
Yeah saw the set list and some of the reviews.
The fans were pretty brutal on us. Some left
.they just didn't listen. It was amazing how flighty they are you know. But we are going to try and hold their hand through this a little more, but it was great to play 'Kohoutek' and 'Of A Lifetime' these early songs you know, it's swords out laughs unbelievable. When we played 'I'm Gonna Leave You', it was like I don't know what they thought. 'Where'd that Kansas riff come from' probably.
You guys have such a rich musical history, you should be playing it.
Yeah, we even did Hustler
it was unbelievable. I took the liberty of changing a few of the lyrics. No offence to Aynsley [Dunbar - original drummer], but I just wouldn't sing those.
Then I found out that Gregg had a big problem singing them
.I said too bad I wasn't around, I would have fixed them for him.
It was fun
I'm having a blast playing the old and it's just a lot to lay on the fans Andrew, all at once
How frustrating is it for you that they do want to take the time to listen?
They'll get it eventually. We got next year. I wasn't even planning on playing more than 2 songs from the new record to tell you the truth. We're just laying it on them. You can't go buy it, you can't get it from our site
.some people have been saying maybe you should let them have it on our site, but I'm kind of against it because I want those people to come to the shows to get the music - first. They deserve it first.
Clicking on a mouse, you know Andrew is very easy, you put your credit card down it's very easy to sit there and get the album.
These people who go through all this should get the album first.
A reward as such.
Yeah and this Journeyville and everything we are doing is cool and this motorcycle we have out here is outta sight. You got to see it it's stunning sitting there.
There is an ambience, a carnival
I don't know I think it's cool that we are going this deep into our repertoire and playing this stuff.
The thing is after that first set they really want to get back to what they know. Until Arrival we played a lot of songs from Arrival we were true to it and man, it went down like, you know
.it went down so so.
Songs like All The Things I love About You and Living To Do all these great tunes just went over their heads.
I remember when I saw you in LA I think I was the only person standing for Higher Place!
Paul McCartney is saddled with this same curse.
We added that song back into the set tonight. Playing Mother father. We put keep On Running and Who's Crying Now is back in the set.
We'll give the fans a few more hits to sink their teeth into.
And Neal's back to playing Voodoo Child which he loves playing
You should be able to vary the set you can't play the same thing every tour can you?
No. That's the beauty of it we can screw around with it a bit, play 'Send Her My Love' on night, 'Message Of Love' another. I think as the fans get into the new album a little more they will dig it.
It was amazing though, when we did 'Out Of Harms Way' it just killed them they loved it live and I couldn't have been happier. It was one of those crazy band stories where Neal has this crazy riff in the dressing room and I'm writing this lyric and I just pinned it on top of his thing. It was nuts for a whole. I'm like 'play that again' and sings lyric I'm writing this lyric and Neal's jamming and we worked really hard to make it a song.
That's the beauty of a band, the same thing happened with 'Mother Father'. It was these riffs I put together with him [Neal] and I had this idea about a song about the family.
So, really similar there were kind of some 'Escape' moments while creating this record.
Then Steve, you know he had his voice on this one, and I think 'Believe' is a great song and 'She Flies Alone' [Butterfly]
'Believe' is an interesting track you didn't write it, being the main melody is centered around a piano.
That was just Stevie. He got a laptop last summer and we told him about [the program] garage band I said Steve, this is perfect for you. Just go nuts. So he bought himself a Mac and he wrote that he orchestrated the whole thing.
He's really on key, on the Journey radar now and I think he has found his voice as Steve Augeri, the singer for Journey.
It was great in that sense he has grown leaps and bounds as a songwriter and a stylist.
Even the vocal he did on 'Knowing That You Love Me' was great. I thought he sung that great and it was not an easy song. But there he is - he put his whole heart and soul into that.
And how is Steve? He obviously got a bit of criticism from the other night.
He's seeing his teacher today, that's what he's doing.
Is he the hardest working guy you have seen?
Well, he could have sat in bed and got depressed, but he didn't you know. He's going to fix it, sort it out; he's just been searching for what he needs.
Life on the road is very hard especially for a vocalist I would think.
there are some physical things he has been wrestling with and trying to sort out seeing his doctor and changing his diet.
He has been trying to find a balance. He always comes out smelling like a rose by the end of the tour.
You guys are confident his voice will be fine.
at the end of the show last night he was spot on.
And Deen's there as a back-up plan.
Yeah, Deen's there
.he has been just blazing.
The attitude of everyone out here is just great. We have a great crew and are surrounded by great people and that's the great thing about being in this band.
True pro's that really give a shit and care
we care and everyone around us gives 200%. I know we always figure it out and we just have to stand up to the legacy we have stood up to claim for ourselves.
When do you something like this it's a lot to chew on and you have to take it show by show. I just look at one show at a time I try not to look to far ahead. I try to stay in the now. I just finished this book called The Power Of Now. It's tremendous, it's my new bible
I stick my head in that all the time.
This guy I was up in Vancouver when we were mixing the album he's from Vancouver he gave me this book and it's one of those new age books that hits home. A great thing.
So we're excited. The possibilities for Europe I think are great.
Let's talk about that folks over there have been gagging for you guys to get over there finally.
They tell me that there is an interest over there and it's really time. I always thought that maybe our time was limited over there, but it's a possibility, we'll see what happens.
I'm going to be pleasantly surprised
I'll believe it when I see it.
You obviously have to scale things back a little for over there.
Yeah, you have to take it one leg at a time and we have 65 shows still to do here so I'm not looking too far down the road.
We've put the music in the people's hands and let them chew on it, write about it
How many copies did you press to give away?
we gave away almost ten thousand first night.
over 60 shows
that's a lot of music.
You know how long that would take in record stores to do that? Months.
And who better should get it. Why should we play the games with the record store and the record companies
all this baloney?
We just completely changed all that and we're not Soundscannning, and nor do we care to. I don't think there is anything there for us in that department.
I kind of agree. What does a Top 10 record mean on the charts these days?
Who is going to play us? We're proud of our guys that we are able to do what we are doing.
I'm just feeding off everyone's energies and keeping healthy, working out.
I got my kids out here with me. A couple of kids traveling with me, they have been good as gold.
That's important to have that connection.
Yeah, they've kept me focused. People who have seen me the last couple of years say 'wow, you are so more focused you are way more with it'.
Just being a dad and being responsible for that job to has made me a little more 'with it' you know. Trying not to be so spacey anymore
My wife is as gorgeous as the day I married her. I couldn't be more blessed to tell you the truth.
I have to pinch myself and say thank God for being in such a great band and being surrounded in such an environment of love.
You just have to
.that's why I like to give back and that's why I love what we're doing here good for our karma who better to give love to than our fans.
We're going to try and make everyone happy and ourselves happy balance, it's all balance.
We would not have made this record if it wasn't for them [the fans]. It was time. They were saying when's the new music coming? Steve kinda started things off with his new songs last summer.
That kinda inspired me and Neal doing Soul SirkUS inspired me watching them go through all that and I kinda fell in love with writing songs again.
For a while I had so many
um, the Internet, so many people stealing our album, it took its toll on my creative spirit. I was away from my family for so long, only to have it put on the Internet for free. It was kind of a shock and especially to have someone do it from our own camp from Sony I had to get over it and it took me a little while.
I was writing songs for myself. I wrote this song about Chicago.
I got this thing from my high school they put me on their wall of fame. Back in Chicago.
I heard about that awesome.
They wanted me to do a concert. They wanted me to do the speeches, so I did all that and I sort of retraced my footsteps and re-evaluated my life and tried to share my successful endeavors
the moments of success
with these kids.
I did motivational speeches to 3000 of these kids maybe 5 or 6 speeches. I found out who I was again the process of going back and looking at things.
I told them all that there are a series of conversations you have in your life that really matter. You really have to be in the conversation that will make or break you.
About having those moments of really shining and that only comes from being in the moment at all times. And being in the conversation and people get your meaning and you are there, wholeheartedly not just half-hearted you know
.there must have been three or four conversations I had with very important people that made or broke my career and me paying attention to what was said.
And that's what I left them with.
And coming out of that and really looking back at my past was an incredible experience and rejuvenated me and recharged by batteries. I write this song about Chicago and growing up there in the 60's called Shine On Chicago called Shine On Chicago.
And I wrote it in about 20 minutes.
This is a very deep song very bluesy, funky, kinda Randy Newman typical Jonathan Cain solo album tune. Could have been on Back To The Innocence.
But it just poured out of me. My wife said 'you are a poet' she just looked at me said you gotta get back and do this.
It was great that charged me up.
So I did this concert for 1000 people Andrew, we raised about $8,000 for the school. And I did 'Back To The Innocence' and I did a Journey medley and the choir joined me. I sang the ballads I had written with the choir sang with me.
It was so amazing
one of those nights in your life you will never forget.
It was my Carnegie hall my night to shine.
And those songs, all 10 years ago that I wrote all meant something that night. Because they defined who I was as a person writing about having my kids, my dad and I sang Jimmy Barnes 'Working Class Man'.
Oh that's cool
Really gave it to them. It was something. We actually did a DVD just for charity, just one camera. So that had a lot to do with me finding my voice as a writer.
Looking at the album writing credits, you are there on just about every track. You are the principle writer on this album.
Steve and I really did a lot of work. Neal was kind of gone. But I took, I very carefully took his work and really honed in and did what I did on Escape with it. I tried to become that guy again.
I was just there with those kinds explaining that to them
it was great
.we rekindled what we really do well together.
He'll give me a track and let me work on it and I'll come back with you know
..its fun. We did it on the road
.we did it
I called him up and said I have a great title for you, it's A Better Life
.you're gonna love this.
And then when Deen sang it, I couldn't have been happier it was stupendous.
And there again its about our fans our fans have kids now they are struggling to make it and how hard it is for them to get their own place in this world you know.
So much harder it was for us so much more competition it's crowded.
People are buying homes now just for their kids in the future as how are they going to be able to afford them? How are they even going to be able to fly? I was saying it's going to be so expensive, but I'm not going to get ahead of myself
One other recent event was the Walk Of Fame award.
It was incredible. It was great because it reaffirmed my faith that people are soulful. I knew Steve Perry had it in him to drop anything he was holding onto for a second and enjoy an afternoon with his buds.
And he did
and so I went to sleep with a smile on my face thinking 'You know what
I though he was a cool guy you know!' I just needed to see it. We all did.
Did that go someway to help repair the past damage done?
I don't know
he was sweet as pie and then for him to mention Herbie that was unbelievable. He thanked Herbie, thanked the crew he looked at me and said 'there's a lot of hits down there'.
He took the cover off the star about the only things he said to me were hi and that
No big dialogue then?
There wasn't much dialogue no. But he was cool to everyone and he shook hands with Deen and Steve and I thought, wow, you are a dude, that's all I need to know.
We invited him to play at the show at the Hard Rock.
He said maybe
but he didn't. He's always welcome here. If he wanted to come and sing tonight he could. If he showed up at any one of these shows, we'd put him right out there.
And Steve Augeri would be fine with that.
That's where we are at. He's still a brother in this organization and always will be, so enough of that.
They can talk about it all they like, but that's that.
Would Steve Perry ever return full time?
I don't think so. It's a pretty tough deal what we are doing here it's pretty brutal. The schedule is brutal.
Some say his voice had deteriorated a little also.
Not just his voice - his body. He had health issues and stuff, but I don't know where he is at with that. We don't know what happens with him from day to day.
You gotta be able to count on your body every day to perform out here.
it was great...great seeing him and it was a cool thing.
It was like a miracle. Something you would never expect to see so I just took it for what it was. We'll see what happens in the future.
And Journey 2006 back on the road just keep going?
Yeah, we're going to try some new places if we can get there if someone will have us we'll try and do the European thing. Who knows where we will wind up.
I'm hoping Frontiers will do a nice job and maybe somebody will pick up the record and buy it and we'll get a little action out of it.
I'm not going to hold my breath, but that's what we are trying to do.
There are some big summer festivals in Europe, it would be great to see Journey amongst it.
Very good, thanks for your time Jonathan.
Good talking to you Andrew. Thanks to all these fans for showing up. Tell them all that we thank them so much for keeping us going.
I'll definitely pass that on. Thanks man.
Ok, thanks bro, thank you for all your kind words. I appreciate your energy.
I think your site is different and insightful and keep it that way.
Thanks again. Cheers!